25 Years Of Experience In Elder Law, Guardianship And Estates

Many people put off estate planning because they believe it’s for the old or wealthy. In truth, anyone with assets should create one, regardless of age, marital status, or if they have children.

Here are some reasons everyone needs an estate plan and what they should include.

To determine how your estate will be distributed

If you die without an estate plan, Florida’s intestate succession laws will dictate how your estate is distributed.

  • If you leave a surviving spouse and no children, or you have children together, your spouse inherits the entire estate.
  • If you have a surviving spouse and children from a previous relationship, your spouse gets half of the estate, and your children receive the other half.
  • If there are children but no surviving spouse, your estate is divided among them.
  • The estate will go to your parents if there is no spouse or children. If they are deceased, it will be divided among siblings. If there are no siblings, the court will divide your estate among your extended family depending on who you are survived by.

Lastly, if the probate court can’t find any living relatives, your assets revert to state ownership.

To look after you

Your estate plan should also include the following:

  • Powers of attorney allow you to appoint someone to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
  • Advanced directives state your wishes for end-of-life care, such as if you want to be kept on live support.
  • A letter of intent is not legally binding but provides additional instructions not included in your other documents, such as your wishes for your funeral.

When creating your estate plan, you will want to work with someone who can help ensure that your estate plan is legally binding. Knowing that you have stated your final wishes can provide peace of mind to you and your family.